Climate and Environment

Canada prisoners relocated as hundreds flee wildfires

Agence France-Presse
Canada prisoners relocated as hundreds flee wildfires
This handout courtesy of the Alberta Wildfire Service, taken May 11, 2024, shows smoke from wildfires burning in Alberta, Canada. Thousands of people fled their homes on May 12, 2024 in western Canada as hundreds of wildfires beginning earlier than usual portend a difficult fire seaso
Photo by Handout / Alberta Wildfire Service / AFP

OTTAWA, Canada — Wildfires in eastern Canada forced the evacuation of hundreds of people -- including 225 inmates from a maximum security prison, officials said Sunday.

The federal penitentiary in Port-Cartier, about 500 kilometers (300 miles) north of Quebec City, was ordered evacuated along with about 1,000 local residents over the weekend, and 750 workers at a hydroelectric dam in Labrador further north.

In a statement, correctional services commissioner Anne Kelly said the prison was closed and inmates "were successfully moved from the affected area to other secure federal correctional facilities."

The prison has housed some of the nation's most notorious criminals including several serial killers.

A local state of emergency was declared on Friday as wildfires menaced the town of Port-Cartier.

Hundreds of workers at the massive hydroelectric plant in Churchill Falls also remained displaced Sunday after fleeing advancing fires earlier this week.

The plant provides power to the province of Newfoundland, neighboring Quebec and other jurisdictions.

The fire "remains a threat to the community," Newfoundland Premier Andrew Furey told a news conference, but it has been "largely contained" to the opposite shores of a river from the plant.

Newfoundland and Labrador Hydro boss Jennifer Williams said a skeleton crew remained behind to keep the generating plant working.

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